Contact arrangements dispute
2 November 2019 at 6:22 pm #32354
Hi All, hoping for some advice, sorry a bit long!!!
My daughters father and I separated last June. When we separated i asked him to stay local and to be a substantial part of her life and share her care as that would be best for her. He moved to the other side of London (1.5-2 hrs by public transport) and said he would see her only every other weekend.
He then began to request extended visits to take her to Isle of Wight to visit her grandmother. We tried this and unfortunately she did not cope well with being apart from me for more than 2 nights so I asked again if he would see her more frequently rather than longer visits. We did this for a while with her staying with her dad, at his parents house close to her nursery…. it worked a treat, she was like a different child, so happy and calm. This was unfortunately not sustainable as his parents had work commitments and so we went back to every other weekend. She was clearly missing him and so I asked if he could find a way to see her midweek again. He offered wednesday evenings overnight again and said he would be moving locallly.
Anyway, he has now changed his mind, and has suggested a number of options which either i feel would not work for our daughter (too much travel, or extended visits again) or make my life more difficult. He has begun to bully me a bit about this now, saying I am keeping him from her, and she will grow up to see me for who i am and chose to live with him etc. That I obvious want to hurt her and destroy their relationship etc,
Should I agree to his requests when I don’t think the are the right solutions or stand my ground and ask that he make compromises to accommodate what she needs? Does anyone have any idea How would i stand if he took me to court on this?
I am really struggling with the way he is treating me at the moment and not sure if I am doing the right thing anymore!
Thanks in advance xx2 November 2019 at 6:49 pm #32357
A lot would depend on different factors.
- How old is the child?
- Why could he still not use his parents? Presumably he could have a key if they were out?
- Refusing because it makes your life difficult wouldn’t go down well in many courts depending on the difficulties it causes.
- The extended visits may now be different given its five plus since they were first tried. So probably shouldn’t be just dismissed without consideration.
- You risk coming across as saying he needs to see her more but then possibly being obstructive, refusing all of his suggestions so this cannot happen. Not saying you are, but this has probably led to the accusations being bounded around. (Which aren’t acceptable).
Ideally you should both be making compromises in the best interests of the child. However neither seem willing to try. And I think that ultimately at this time, you can refuse his offers and continue with the weekends only waiting to see of he goes to court. As a rule of thumb he wouldn’t get midweek overnight contact if not within an hour of school etc unless the child is younger than school age and he could spend the next day with her or doesn’t need to be anywhere early.
I think that his location doesn’t help. And I imagine there are many reasons for this choice. Right now, I think you need to try and find some middle ground. You have so many years ahead of you where you need to coparent.
What did he suggest?2 November 2019 at 7:03 pm #32358
Set, could you agree regular facetime during the week, after your little girl has had her tea. Two half hour sessions each week would make a big difference. She could tell him about her day, he could read her a bed time story.
You don’t say how old she is but that makes a big difference. Why can’t he use his parents’ house, even if they aren’t there?
Don’t let him make you feel guilty. He moved two hours away.2 November 2019 at 7:03 pm #32359
Hi Thanks for your response, really appreciate it! In answer to your questions:
1. she is 3.5 years old.
2. They will not allow him to use the house if they were not there
3. I never focus on the fact that it would make my life more difficult with him. But what i mean by that is one of the suggestions is that he would collect her on Saturday instead of friday, and extending his visit in to the following week. Not only would this push the visit over the amount of time she feels comfortable with, I am exhausted being a single working mum and studying in the evenings, and to be honest I need a rest occasionally, and he would be halving the opportunity I have for that… this is the only purely selfish thing in my argument
4. The last time we tried an extended visit was late September and she was an awful mess after it. I want her to have longer visits with her dad, but she really doesn’t cope well with it at the moment.
He has offered a number of suggestions int he last few months including picking her up after nursery on Monday PM and dropping her back Tuesday PM but with that long journey; Dropping her back to me Sunday afternoon, picking her up Monday am dropping her back Tuesday AM, or 3-4 day weekends
Obviously picking her up Monday PM and dropping her at nursery Tuesday AM works great if he was local but i can’t see that happening any time soon. I will for now keep hoping that he moves locally again as he keeps promising then the more frequent visits should be fairly easy to arrange2 November 2019 at 7:05 pm #32360
Thanks Kathy, I have tried the FaceTiming, but she gets very upset and says she doesn’t want to do it, she wants him here, why is he not here? I do keep asking her, but she tells me she doesn’t want to do it. This is another cause of his anger towards me but I can’t force her to do it if it upsets her?2 November 2019 at 8:46 pm #32363
Tbh though it’s not ideal, I’d be inclined to say, ok try those options. See how it pans out. Your child may we’ll manage it but I doubt he will if it’s 90-120 travel across London one way, so he’d be doing that four times to get every two. That novelty will soon wear off.
As an alternative, is there any possibility he could stay more locally if say he booked ahead for discounts in an Airbnb or travelodge etc?
i am afraid that your reason for refusing due to study is unreasonable in that you could still have study time just at a different point in the week. And think that if this time is so important then you need to be making compromises and not building hurdles.
I’d give the extended try another go. Sept to November is a long time for a 3.5 year old.2 November 2019 at 10:56 pm #32373
HI Solomummy, thanks again for your reply. I get what you are saying but I find it hard to agree to something that is making her overtired and that she says she does not want to do. She says even the two nights is too long away from me, and she is clearly overtired form the travelling. I wish I didn’t feel like this but it goes against my instinct as a mother, especially when it is well within his capacity to make this all easier on her. I also don’t think her staying in random airbnbs with him is a sensible solution for her.
As for my studying I study every evening after she goes to bed and all weekend when she is with him, so studying at another point is not really an option at the moment.
I will just hope that he keeps his promise of moving back locally which will solve all these issues
Thanks again for the input x3 November 2019 at 8:50 am #32380
The only other thing I’d beat in
mind is that as two overnights are established a court would be more likely to enforce longer periods. Three overnights in a block wouldn’t be seen as unreasonable and unfortunately more often resident parents saying their children aren’t managing is being dismissed. Certainly from the anecdotal experience of predominantly lone mothers.
And also as parents we make decisions for our children that they may disagree with. Contact may well be one for you.3 November 2019 at 9:29 am #32382
Thanks again Solomummy, I find it very sad to hear that the resident parent’s knowledge about a child’s wellbeing would be dismissed so easily in court.
I’d be interested to hear if anyone else has some input or experience of this